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Thursday, October 30, 2008

White Space



While existing companies control access to the internet it is with some contention that I see people regardless of the portal created through to internet access should have "free access" to this. Currently Governments hold the rights to auction so anything that is derived or sold by the government rightfully belongs to the people.

White space in telecommunications refers to unused frequencies in the radio waves portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

National and international bodies assign differing frequencies for specific uses, and in some cases license the rights to these. This frequency allocation process creates a bandplan which in some cases for technical reasons assigns white space between used bands to avoid interference. In this case, while the frequencies are unused they have been specifically assigned for a purpose.

As well as this technical assignment, there is also unused spectrum which has either never been used, or is becoming free as a result of technical changes. In particular, the planned switchover to digital television may free up large areas between 54MHz and 698MHz. Various proposals including those from the White Spaces Coalition suggest using this bandwidth to provide broadband Internet access. However, these efforts may impact wireless microphones and other technologies that have historically relied on these frequencies.


It is with some insight then that if this is currently free then such attempts to build new devices to access this without using current patented technologies would then be invited under the auspice of a open source and competitive standard to allow such an expression by the peope?

The White Spaces Coalition

The White Spaces Coalition consists of eight large technology companies that plan to deliver high speed broadband internet access beginning in February 2009 to United States consumers via existing 'white space' in unused television frequencies between 54-698 MHz (TV Channels 2-51). The coalition expects speeds of 10 Mbyte/s and above, and 50 to 100 Mbyte/s for white space short-range networking.[1] The group includes Microsoft, Google, Dell, HP, Intel, Philips, Earthlink, and Samsung Electro-Mechanics.

11 comments:

White Noise said...

Those who have been looking to use so-called “white space” for national broadband wireless Internet got a huge boost Wednesday. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has thrown his support behind those plans in a report issued by the commission. Better yet, he plans to bring the issue up for vote at the next meeting on November 4.

For those who need a quick primer on what white space is, here goes. The term refers to unused portions of spectrum between assigned blocks, in this case referring to the frequencies between television channels. A group calling itself the White Spaces Coalition — made up of companies including Microsoft, Google and others — has been lobbying the FCC to open it up for use for a high speed wireless Internet network.

These frequencies would be open to anyone, thus allowing companies to freely develop products to send data over long distances: the companies say these frequencies are perfect for that.

Naturally, the telecom industry says this is a threat. Lobbyists there argue that the technology would cause TV interference. It seems as if the FCC disagrees. While its tests did seem to indicate there would be some interference issues, apparently it was not enough to cause it to block the White Space Coalition’s efforts.

Further tests are apparently underway to ensure interference is minimized.
FCC Chair Backs White Space Usage Plans

Spectrum said...

Wireless spectrum: FAQs by By Peter Nowak CBC News May 26, 2008 3:13 PM ET

What is spectrum?

Spectrum is a catch-all term for the radio airwaves that many wireless gizmos use to communicate information. Radios use spectrum, as do the rabbit-ear antennas on older television sets. The CBC, for example, is broadcast free to many parts of Canada using a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Cellphones, of course, also use it.

Spectrum is divided into different frequencies and measured in units called hertz.

Why is it being sold?

Spectrum is a public resource that is managed by the government through Industry Canada. The government extracts big revenue from selling spectrum licences to cellphone companies, because those licences are limited while demand is high. Canada's cellphone industry made $12.7 billion in 2006, 95 per cent of which went to the big three providers, Rogers Communications Inc., Bell Canada Inc. and Telus Corp. Other telecommunications providers would like to offer cellphone services but can't, because they don't have a spectrum licence.

The licences are for 10 years and can be renewed by owners within two years of their expiration. The auction is expected to earn the government at least $1 billion, but likely a good deal more.

Who currently holds spectrum licences for cellphone services in Canada?

The nation's big three cellphone providers — Rogers Communications, Bell Canada and Telus — all hold licences. A number of smaller regional companies, including Winnipeg-based Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. and Regina-based SaskTel, also have licences and offer cellphone services.
Auction of radio airwaves will influence Canada's prosperity

White Noise said...

CRTC rules and regulations are very heavy and dictate how most of this works. It's public property in the form that the gov't sells and regulates it... It's not public property 'free for use' whenever the public may want.

This white space discussion comes up from the DTV transition in the US... By stopping the transmission of tv signals, they become free for whatever else we want to put on it.

But I think you're getting issues crossed a bit... The White Spaces Coalition (referred to in the article from your opening post) would like to use this for broadband internet access instead (so it'd be public as in we'll be selling the airwaves).

Remember who's pushing it:

The group includes Microsoft, Google, Dell, HP, Intel, Philips, Earthlink, and Samsung Electro-Mechanics.

Equipment and software will be needed for this to work... Not too odd that the major pushers in this are all software or hardware companies. Heh, nobody would be pushing for it if there wasn't money to be made afterall.

I think theres still alot of speculation... As far as I know, the 'public' white space is just another thing for the gov't to sell to telco companies so they may turn around and sell it to us.

Spectrum said...

White Noise-Equipment and software will be needed for this to work... Not too odd that the major pushers in this are all software or hardware companies. Heh, nobody would be pushing for it if there wasn't money to be made afterall.

I think theres still alot of speculation... As far as I know, the 'public' white space is just another thing for the gov't to sell to telco companies so they may turn around and sell it to us.


But lets move on here.

But I think you're getting issues crossed a bit... The White Spaces Coalition (referred to in the article from your opening post) would like to use this for broadband internet access instead (so it'd be public as in we'll be selling the airwaves).

Yes I understood the Coalition and in the presence of them, it can only lead to your conclusions, which was where I was lead.

Profit orientated I soon realized, that the benefits this medium offers, has been extended and well compartmentalized for profit, while getting large dollars for our governments when this infrastructure to extend information and knowledge to every part of our country has been less then satisfactory.

So it brought me to the notion that Government is pushing technology while undertanding less it's role in providing that infrastructure, and only bolstering the increased cost too "buying packages," as Fidel can attest too.

This is becoming a large part of the budget when the benefits of government resource should see it's people well taken care of, before laundering it's soul for the prestige of "economic and technological diversity" while keeping parts of this country from growth and prosperity in terms of that knowledge and communication.

So where to next? Hmmm.. I am thinking here.

Spectrum said...

I think one would need to understand "the once held conflict between Microsoft and Netscape." To understand why the confrontation here needs to be "amplified" in regards to the "for profit schemes of our government" by getting dollars off of a resource, and decreeing how nice of them, when they apply these monies to "special interests" in business, and further our our bend to privatization methods and markets schemes.

Now here's the thought.

Open source was driven by the understanding of communities. Software expansionism by developers to include an progressive step toward that online community. If Microsoft had had it's way, then it was of required only the software implemented to hardware that "it provided" when it was thought that "choice should be given."

Please correct anywhere along the line here for accuracy.

The idea here then is to develop the hardware technology to get to the public frequencies and airwaves that would allow internet access and increased speeds without having to use the portals of the big coalition.

White Noise said...

The idea here then is to develop the hardware technology to get to the public frequencies and airwaves that would allow internet access and increased speeds without having to use the portals of the big coalition.

Hmmm, so do you think that this technology could be used to access the internet from anywhere for free (just like the channels that previously occupied this space)?

Thats a little more difficult than it'd seem... No matter what, the internet backbone is running on these companies equipment. The internet is a series of routers and connections, and these aren't free... A company has taken the time to install and maintain it.

Though this idea with white space may provide a new way of accessing the internet, tis hard to get around accessing through these companies.

It's heavily CRTC regulated... Bell in Eastern Canada and Telus in the West (umm, sasktel and MTS in Sask and Manitoba respectively) are the ILEC (Incumbant Local Exchange Carrier). Everyone else become CLECs (Competition LEC). The CLEC's, when they can't provide their own services to a customer, purchase unbundled loops from the ILEC and sell those to the customer (Think of unbundled loops as 'unassigned phone numbers'). That is wireline though, wireless is a bit different.

Profit orientated I soon realized, that the benefits this medium offers, has been extended and well compartmentalized for profit, while getting large dollars for our governments when this infrastructure to extend information and knowledge to every part of our country has been less then satisfactory.

White Noise said...

cont/ from previous post

Canada may ultimately make great use of this technology if it becomes feasible. We're decently well wired when it comes to our urban cores, but Canadian geography tends to make getting to rural areas much more difficult. As far as I know, this would potentially allow people to access the internet using these frequencies could be able to access the net from whereever your tv with bunny ears could work.

Ultimately, I think this tech is offering a new way to access the internet and (possibly) open up enough room on the airways that many more companies can enter the marketplace (boost competition) instead of the 3 company monopoly we currently have. Not sure if there is potential for a completely free air-waves internet with it... At least not without massive investment by telco companies in equipment to support new customers, and then we're back to paying a company for access.

Spectrum said...

White NoiseCanada may ultimately make great use of this technology if it becomes feasible. We're decently well wired when it comes to our urban cores, but Canadian geography tends to make getting to rural areas much more difficult. As far as I know, this would potentially allow people to access the internet using these frequencies could be able to access the net from wherever your tv with bunny ears could work.



Total Canadian Communities = 5426
Unserved communities = 3842 (71%)


Thanks very much for the info. So ultimately we are progressing toward and identifying a Unlicensed Spectrum and equipment for access to that internet?

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Unlicensed Spectrum

Unlicensed spectrum is not sold to the highest bidder and used for the services chosen by the license-holder but is instead accessible to anyone using wireless equipment certified by the FCC for those frequencies. Among the advantages of unlicensed spectrum is the opportunity to test new technology directly with consumers instead of going through spectrum license-holders. One of the disadvantages of unlicensed spectrum is the possibility of interference among the transmissions of the various users, both within the assigned bandwidth and with other bandwidths. Currently, there are no commercial applications for WiMAX using unlicensed spectrum. The cost of developing WiMAX applications for unlicensed use could impact its adaptation by municipalities seeking to provide wireless broadband services.

Some advocates for unlicensed spectrum would like to see spectrum set aside in the 700 MHz band, where channels will be released by television broadcasters as they move from analog to digital transmission. An alternative proposal for providing unlicensed spectrum as part of the DTV transition is to designate so-called “whitespaces” among the new digital TV channels. To avoid interference among TV station broadcasts, channels are assigned in one market area and left vacant in adjoining areas. For example, channel 7 is used in the New York City area and in the Washington, DC area, but not in
Baltimore. In Baltimore, spectrum designated for channel 7 is vacant and could be used for unlicensed purposes. Beginning in May 2004, the FCC requested comment on proposals for considering the use of spectrum in television broadcast bands (Docket No. 04-186) but has yet to reach a decision. Representatives of the television broadcast industry have filed comments containing engineering studies that suggest harmful interference would occur; other studies suggest no significant interference would occur
Wireless Technology and Spectrum Demand: Advanced Wireless Services

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White Noise:Ultimately, I think this tech is offering a new way to access the internet and (possibly) open up enough room on the airways that many more companies can enter the marketplace (boost competition) instead of the 3 company monopoly we currently have. Not sure if there is potential for a completely free air-waves internet with it... At least not without massive investment by telco companies in equipment to support new customers, and then we're back to paying a company for access.


Software-Defined Radio(SDR) and “smart” antennae for terrestrial wireless.
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Professors Hazlett and Smith appear to think private, unlicensed use could not possibly be as efficient as the command and control provided by a single owner keen on recouping its investments. Using the Professors’ rationale, would unlicensed Wi-Fi home network operators be better off if a single venture secured the 2.4 GHz band and packaged innovative home networking “solutions”? Not for me. I’m doing just fine managing spectrum quite efficiently using a device whose manufacturer bore no great burden proving to the FCC that the device would not cause harmful interference. Millions of Wi-Fi network operators do not have to pay a dime for the privilege of using spectrum and they surely do not need a spectrum owner to restrict their freedom and charge them for the privilege of using public spectrum.

The same principle applies to the millions of cordless telephone users. Should we have to pay a fee to the telephone company, or whoever acquired the cordless telephone frequencies for the privilege of using cordless handsets? Of course not. There are plenty of instances where spectrum use does not have to be coordinated, managed and priced by a single licensee.


Unlicensed White Space Use as an Airwave “Freeze”
----------------------------

FCC likely to recommend unlicensed spectrum use

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A battle between tech companies like Google Inc and broadcasters over use of soon-to-be vacant airwaves will heat up soon as U.S. regulators release an anticipated report on the issue.

The Federal Communications Commission's report will weigh in as early as Friday on the feasibility of opening up "white spaces" -- unused pockets of the spectrum to become available when broadcasters move completely to digital television next year -- for unlicensed use.

Google, Microsoft Corp and others want the spaces for a new generation of wireless devices. So-called incumbents on the space, including broadcasters and wireless phone companies, oppose unlicensed use, worrying that it would create interference and other technical problems.


Kim Dixon, Reuters
Published: Friday, October 10, 2008

Spectrum said...

There’s lots of celebration in the media about the supposed benefits that the recent spectrum auction will bring Canadian consumers in terms of cell phone and other wireless services, as well as speculation about what the federal government should do with the $4.25 billion in proceeds from the auction. But who really wins here?

The public is now on the hook to pay back this $4.25 billion to these telecoms companies for the privilege of accessing property that, as citizens, actually belongs to them – namely the radio spectrum. Moreover, their monthly fees will also go to pay hundreds of millions more to build the technical infrastructure to support any new networks as well as millions more in profits for these private companies shareholders. At the same time, because they live outside of the urban centres where these news services will be offered, millions of people will never see any of those benefits.

If it is the interests of “consumers” (as citizens) that the government really has in mind there are lots of better ways to put radio spectrum into public service. Community owned wireless systems, for instance, put both ownership and control of such services in the hands of the people who actually own the resource -- that is, Canadians as a whole – and community ownership helps ensure that the services are designed and priced to meet the needs of users rather than corporate shareholders. There are numerous examples and models of community wireless systems in both North America and other parts of the world for the government to choose from.

As for what to do with the auction windfall? How about using some of it to ensure that all people in Canada have access to wireless services, such as investing in bridging some of the digital divides that still exist between rural and urban dwellers and the inner cities and more affluent parts of town. Or how about putting some of it into supporting community radio and television outlets? Or independent and not for profit wireless news and information services? What’s the point in having national wireless networks if they are filled with commercials like where to buy the latest ring tones, the closest pizza joint, and the nearest place to get a loan until pay day.

The radio spectrum is public property. It’s time to give the peoples of Canada rather than private corporations control over the resource.
Democratic Media

Che' said...

Good-good! I think a number of years from now, we will see gigabit mobile communications for real cheap.

Expect Wireless Carriers To Subsidize Netbooks Soon Netbooks for $100-$200, provided you sign a long-term contract... Michael Dell says

Spectrum said...

Compadre,

Your selling yourself short when you can go for the whole thing. Now remember, Wifi connection and the Libraries if you run into further bad check problems.

If you see a niche market in terms of the technology you have, then why not monopolize where you can to still profit by creating a portal for access to this full democracy broadband?

Just doesn't make sense when the spectrum is available for people to use and faster connections rates then currently served on dial up.

You have to recognize the market capitalization plan to acceptance of this cost to access, when privatizing a resource to make all people pay the same. Then you seal the deal with regard to profit marginalized in the future.

IN a full democracy( not a capitalized one) we want every one to be the same, but using it free.